Let’s talk about that pack.

Before leaving, I shared the contents of my pack for those who asked what I was taking. Now let’s talk about that pack. Here’s that same What’s in her backpack page, but this time it’s marked up with notes about what worked and what didn’t.

This is all important information for me for next year. Yes! Next year!

Backpack EdiedThe secret code:
Green = did the job
Red = didn’t work
Blue = observations

For starters, there’s the pack, a Gregory Jade 38. Like most of my equipment, I tried many different brands and styles. The Jade 38 fits me and my gear better than any of the dozen others I tried. It also has a little “wiggle room” should I need to add anything–though I can’t imagine what. This was an excellent pack with some unnecessary extras. I thought it was important to have front panel access to my stuff. In reality I just jammed everything in from the top and didn’t bother with the front “door”. This pack also has a zipper inside near the bottom to create a separate sleeping bag compartment. After about two days I unzipped that compartment and that was the end of that. Unnecessary features aside, the Jade 38 worked very well.

Clothes
Hiking pants, convertible, Mountain Hardwear, black. (Capris for day, long pants at night) Worked out perfectly.
Leggings with a little skirt attached, REI, black. Wore these after showering at the end of the day.
Long sleeve shirt, Columbia. Sent it home before reaching Spain.
T shirt, SmartWool, base layer. Worked well.
T shirt, North Face. Wish I’d had two of them.
Fleece, Arc’terex, Delta LT, black. Lightweight and warm. Thumbs up. 
Running shorts for sleeping. Wore them in the beginning, then like many other pilgrims, I started sleeping in the next day’s clothes. Sounds awful, but really isn’t.
T shirt for sleeping. Used the T shirts listed above/Didn’t take a separate sleeping shirt.
Two sets of underwear. Wear one, wash one.
Hiking socks, SmartWool, 2 pair. Perfect. Never wore the SmartWool without liners.
Sock liners, Fox River, 3 pair. Perfect, but only needed two pair.
Hiking shoes, Keen, Ambler. Left the Keens at home Walked in Saucony running shoes–my best friends.
Hiking sandals, Teva, Tirra. A bit heavy in my pack but worked well in Santiago. Usually wore flip flops after each day’s walk.

Tech
iPad Mini and charger. Served its purpose but would leave it home next time.
iPhone 5 with Mophie battery case and Spanish SIM card. Excellent combination! Two thumbs up.
Ear phones. Rarely without them.
Audiobooks, eBooks, eGuides, music (all digitized on my phone and on the Mini). Used constantly.
Canon S100 camera and charger. A very good camera choice: small, pocketable, easy to use.
Three way plug and euro adapter. Tossed the three-way plug because it only worked with US two-prong plugs–duh, and bought a euro version in a Chinese shop for about $2.

Hygiene
Lush shampoo bar in a cute little tin. (Love this stuff). Good stuff!
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Lotion and Sunscreen
Makeup (vanity, vanity.) Only used it in Santiago to cover the cuts and bruises from the penultimate day’s face plant…
Comb
REI ultra-lite towel, quick dry. Did the job but not a favorite. The problem is that there just isn’t a good alternative.
Silent Nite snore guard (don’t want a boot tossed at me in the night). Necessary.
SheWee (look it up  ; ) Won’t take it next time.
First aid kit (including Mefix, Neosporin, bandaids…) Sorry to say that it came in handy.
Ibuprofen (lots) Used daily.
Body Glide (to fight off blisters) Never had a blister!

Sleeping
LaFuma sleeping bag. Compact, light, comfortable. Two thumbs up.
REI sleeping pad . Unnecessary weight. Never had a need to use it.
Exped inflatable pillow. Excellent choice because I didn’t want to sleep on the pillows provided by the albergues.
Sea to Summit silk liner for warm nights. Rarely used it and would probably leave it at home next time.
Tyvek, 3 x 7 sheet to cover the ratty hostel mattresses. Permethrin treated against bed bugs. Don’t leave home without it. Provides a very good layer of protection between you and the bedbugs.

Other
Pacer Poles with spare street feet. My second best friends.
Passport
Pilgrims passport
Gear tie Handy.
Diaper pins. Picked up a few clothes pins and used them instead.
Pepper spray. Unnecessary.
pen knife. Good for slicing sausage, cheese, etc.
mini flashlight. Valuable for finding my way in dark albergues after the 10 p.m. lights out.
Reading glasses. Left at home.
Kipling waist pack (never out of my sight). Jettisoned early on and replaced with a tiny nylon backpack.